Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator was essentially flat in February, rising by just 0.01. The flat value followed two months of growth during December 2014 and January 2015. Taken together, the three months of data suggest that the Nebraska economy will improve later in the year.
“Recent values for the Leading Economic Indicator – Nebraska suggest that the state’s economy will grow solidly in mid-2015, said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Components of the Leading Economic Indicator showed areas of strength and weakness in the economy. Business expectations were an area of strength. Respondents to the Survey of Nebraska Business expect to increase employment and sales over the next six months. Such positive expectations are a benefit for the overall economy.
At the same time, there are mounting challenges for export-oriented business in Nebraska. “For the seventh consecutive month, there was a sharp increase in the value of the U.S. dollar during February,” according to Thompson. “Sharp increases in the value of the U.S. dollar impact the competitiveness of manufacturers, agricultural producers and other businesses which export.”
There also was a drop in airline passenger counts in Nebraska during February, after adjusting for seasonal factors. Other components of the leading indicator – single family building permits, initial claims for unemployment insurance, and manufacturing hours – changed little during the month.
The monthly indicator is produced by faculty and students in the Economics Department and the Bureau of Business Research in UNL’s College of Business Administration.
March Leading Economic Indicator - Nebraska Report